Brand awareness, which is how familiar or aware consumers are with your brand or your products and services, is just one aspect of your brand identity.
Brand identity is a broad concept. It’s not just your logo or advertising campaigns. It is how you present yourself to the market and interact with your target market. It covers everything from product design to the tone of your social media posts, employee relations and customer support. The truth is that there is no aspect of a company that’s not a part of its brand identity.
One thing is certain; good branding benefits a company’s bottom line. This can be seen when launching a new product or service. Businesses with a strong brand identity can create excitement around a product or service launch with far less investment of resources than an unknown brand would need to make to reach the same audience.
Many of the rules of branding apply to all businesses regardless of industry or sector. Here are 5 essential branding rules:
- Conduct a thorough brand audit. You need to determine where you stand in your industry and to understand who your customers are. To do this, you need to find out what is most important for driving growth and analyse how consumers actually view your product or service. An in-depth competitor analysis is necessary, including a review of competitor websites, search engine optimisation, brand identities and advertising. This determines whom you compete with for market share and how to differentiate your brand from theirs. As well as what strategies to employ to take a larger slice of the pie.
- Establish your unique value proposition and messaging. Identify your core philosophies. This will include your mission statement and values. Determining your brand’s value proposition for the consumer is also essential. This is the foundation of building a brand that truly represents your organisation. At Marketing Angels, we work closely with our client’s management and stakeholders to analyse and interpret gathered data into descriptive messages that embody the company and brand’s meaning. This process ensures that we capture the company’s and brand’s essence. We look for a unique and original voice to represent the brand.
- Develop your brand’s creative elements. This is where you create the look, feel and voice of your brand that will be carried through all marketing channels – from the website to social media, collateral, email signatures, advertisements, packaging, etc. The look and feel can be achieved with a brand style guide or a brand book, where you will find a wide range of information about the brand’s distinct look and feel, such as font types and sizes, brand colours, logo design and size, layout rules and more. Minor discrepancies in design can erode brand identity, and even seemingly trivial matters — such as the letter spacing of the brand name — can have a negative effect. The brand voice should be distinctive, resonate with your customers, be consistent and stay true to your company’s values. One way to ensure that you are building the right voice for your target audience is to categorise them by profession, social preferences, age, gender, and who else is selling to them (also known as creating personas).
- Implement strategies to establish the brand identity. Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. It is built over time through several strategies, including your content marketing strategy, social media strategy and PR strategy to grow brand awareness and strengthen your brand. Make sure your website and online reputation match your brand’s goals. Also, ensure your website is mobile and search-friendly, loads quickly and contains multiple contact points to connect with clients.
- Analyse and refine the brand identity. The identity that you have established can and will evolve. So it’s a non-stop process of discovering your brand through the eyes of your customers. To remain competitive, you must routinely analyse and refine your brand to ensure it’s delivering on the promises of what the business stands for. You need a brand refresh or rebranding if you are expanding, your logo design isn’t flexible enough, your packaging is outdated, your brand looks like your competition or your brand identity no longer accurately reflects your values.
Consistency is key to creating a strong brand identity. Once you’ve identified what your brand wants to be known for — luxury or affordability, exclusivity or accessibility, etc. — you have a guide for your messaging and visual communications.
If you don’t have the right resources to execute your plan, you can always outsource your needs to an experienced marketing consultant. Outsourcing your marketing means you’ll have access to a team of people with expertise in multiple areas. They can help you build a brand that will trigger emotional cues in your audience to make them favour your brand over others.
Do you have questions about your branding or rebranding? Contact us for a free consultation.